Bowls: Co-op main sponsor for Top Ten

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Sunday’s executive meeting of the Scottish Inter-County Top Ten Association at Gorgie Mills Bowls Club will welcome the news that the leading national club championship has a new sponsor for the 31st playing of the popular tournament in The Co-operative Funeralcare.

There is a strong Edinburgh connection in the staging of this year’s event with the final day’s play taking place at Colinton BC on Sunday, June 10.

The Top Ten embraces 25 County Associations nationwide and starts with its preliminary round on Sunday, May 13, with the respective 2011 area champions chasing the 2012 national title.

Kirkliston have etched their name on the silverware a record three times and the current holders of the title, are back representing West Lothian and have a home tie in the first round proper against Kilbarchan of Renfrewshire on Sunday, May 20.

Craigentinny represent Edinburgh and having been the Capital’s club of the season last year, their strong line-up in the Top Ten will entertain high hopes of emulating their 1986 national title success.

The Edinburgh champions have a bye into the first round proper but have been drawn away to Alva South of Clackmannan & Kinross but could then entertain Kirkliston if results fall the right way.

Aberlady have an impressive record in the national championship having reached the final on three occasions and winning it twice. The East Lothian champions open their latest campaign at home to New Deer of Buchan County in the preliminary round.

Midlothian have celebrated winning the title four times in the last six years and it falls to Musselburgh to emulate the recent success of Newbattle, Danderhall, Bonnyrigg and Gilmerton.

The reigning Midlothian champions face a tough opening test as they have been drawn away against Glasgow challengers, Croftfoot, but a win could earn them a plum local visit to Aberlady in the first round proper.

George Tinning, managing director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, commented: “We are delighted to sponsor this national sports event that embraces leading bowlers from the 25 member associations and helps bring sharper focus to bowls in the lead up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

Meanwhile, Bowls Scotland has appointed Willie Wood, MBE, as mentor to Neil Speirs of Kirkliston, Lauren Baillie (Cockenzie & Port Seton), Robert Grant (Lanarkshire) and Becky Campbell (Stirlingshire) who have been selected to play for Scotland in the inaugural Dutch Open at Ons Kinnehim Bowls Club in Haarlem, Netherlands, from May 6-11.